Design Styles: When You’re a Little Bit Country and She’s a Little Bit Rock ‘n’ Roll

Conflicting design styles can cause rifts in relationships if they’re not sorted out before cohabitation begins. If you’re planning on moving in with a significant other, the following tips can help you merge styles and discover brand new ones together.

Oh, wouldn’t it be amazing if our significant others always shared our same exact taste in design styles? We’d go shopping together, exchanging loving glances as we danced through the fourth-floor linen department at ABC Carpet & Home, scooping up snowy-white 400-thread-count linens before heading downtown to the Century 21 department store, where our eyes would fall on the very same massively discounted silver tray set. Instead, we find ourselves with people who cringe at our bohemian vintage armchairs or think that black, puffy faux-leather sofas are the absolute height of style. How do people successfully marry completely different (and often clashing) design styles? If you’re ready to look for a new apartment in NYC with your partner, read these tips before you furnish it.

1. Sit down together and make a list of deal-breaker design styles.

The way your home is decorated is going to directly impact on how you feel every time you walk through the front door. If you hate a decor element so much it makes you see red every time you see it, it should not be in your home — so make sure it’s on this list. Once you’ve each compiled a list of things you dislike, share your lists with each other and discuss. If your partner despises something you love (and vice versa), now’s the time to negotiate and see if there’s any wiggle room; if not, make sure to keep those design styles out of your home.

2. Visit design stores together.

Now that you’ve got the items of hate out of the way, join together to find items that you both love. You could flip through magazines … but you live in NYC! Design inspiration is all around you. Take a weekend to visit several furniture stores so that you can get a handle on what you both like. Head to SoHo to DwellStudio if you’d like to see a mix of vintage and modern furniture, or check out Jonathan Adler’s store on Greene Street if you really want to see how you both respond to color. The Ikea in Red Hook, Brooklyn, is always great because it showcases fully dressed rooms or apartments. Just hop a train to Borough Hall and take the free shuttle there.

3. Give a little.

If you’ve ever seen the classic sitcom Frasier, you’ll remember Frasier’s restrained, luxurious contemporary apartment filled with modern furnishings — and his father’s cozy, worn, and totally out-of-place Barcalounger that took center stage. You’ll remember that Frasier despised that chair with the heat of a thousand suns … until one day, it just wasn’t a big deal anymore. The chair made his father happy and welcome in the apartment, and in the end, that’s what mattered most to Frasier.

If your loved one insists on a certain item that clashes with your taste, evaluate the situation. How much does it mean to the other person? Is the offending item something you could warm up to over time? Pick your battles, and try to work things out.

4. The person who rules a room decorates it.

Have more stake in a certain room than your partner does? Then it should be yours to decorate. It’s only fair. If you’re the one who does all the cooking and washing up, you should be able to make the kitchen look exactly the way you want it to look since you’ll be the one spending all your time in there. If your partner disagrees, let it be known that you’ll blend design styles — if your partner shares the chores.

Image Source: Flickr/Dave Pinter

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